We Exist in Memory

How do you rebuild “home” from nothing but memories? This verite-style film thrusts us into the intimate conversations between Maria and her grandchild, Marucha: two Indigenous refugees living in displacement. To Maria, the Venezuelan delta is her home. To Marucha, these refugee camps are all she knows. Through the rhythms of their daily lives, we witness the complexity of raising a new generation in displacement and explore how land, memory and identity are deeply intertwined.

  • Darian Woehr
  • Hailey Sadler
  • Bruna Kadletz
  • Darian Woehr
  • Darian Woehr
    Director of Photography
  • Darian Woehr
  • Argenia Centeno
    Associate Producer
  • Jose Albarran Lopez
    Associate Producer
  • Maria Centeno
    Documentary Participants
  • Audileannys (Marucha) Centeno
    Documentary Participants
  • Adriana Duarte Bencomo
  • Hunter Uman
    Sound Design
  • Hunter Uman
    Music Composition
  • Gonzalo Greco
  • Rosmery Torres
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Existimos en la Memoria
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Verite
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 20, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Darian Woehr

Darian Woehr is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer based in San Francisco, California.

As a former breaking news journalist for companies such as The Washington Post, Darian has now turned her sights to stories at the nexus of memory, environments and defining home that occur at pivotal moments in history but are often missing from the headlines. Darian is a founder of The Home Collective, a long term Indigenous and women-led documentary project exploring the concept of home and its definitive role in shaping our future.

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Director Statement

The Home Collective, consisting of myself and Hailey, was first invited into this story back in 2020. We've been exploring the concept of "home" for the past several years and felt this story had the potential to reflect so many of the invisible ties we have to home and what the loss of those ties looks like. We set out to make this film with one question in mind: How do you rebuild home from nothing but memories?

The creation of this film has been a true collaboration between us and our local Warao partners and participants from the genesis when they first reached out to us via Instagram. We feel deeply honored to have been welcomed into the Warao community and have built friendships that will span lifetimes. I hope the audience feels the strong bond between Maria and her granddaughter, Marucha, and the true sense of longing for "home" that they experience in their daily rhythms.

Our team member Jose shares, “The importance of the project lies in the possibility of showing in a holistic way, the different subtle and material links that exist within the Warao people with home, the impact that these links have suffered as a result of historical invisibility, forced migration and the arrival of the pandemic outside the protection and security of the home.”

As mass migration and displacement happens around the world, these questions of home resonate globally, but are first being answered through the stories of the Warao.

Through this film, the Warao community will speak to the world. We plan to host community-led lectures and Q+A's with the goal of promoting Indigenous visibility amidst displacement and Indigenous-led cultural preservation initiatives.

I'll leave you with this quote from our producer and refugee activist, Bruna: “The process of displacement, it's about more than being displaced from one's land because this sense of identity comes from place. Through storytelling, you can sort of weave these threads to reconnect to one's identity, because it's not only about being displaced outwardly, but inner displacement as well.”